Unlike previous years when the Columbus Academy boys track and field team entered the season with lofty goals, coach Bob Kirk is uncertain of his squad's potential.
Kirk said the Vikings have a limited roster because of commitments to the other sports, but he hopes they eventually return to their customary state-level form.
"I don't know how to figure out what our goals are other than to run as fast as we can," said Kirk, who is in his 43rd season.
"Who knows how we'll stack up against the competition. Who knows how they'll emerge. They'll get better, better and better, but do we have enough guys? We have an awfully good distance team. We should be a pretty good team once we get it all in place."
In the Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays on April 8, the Vikings competed shorthanded because of injuries and other commitments and finished 10th (23 points) of 13 teams behind champion and host Big Walnut (88).
Senior Grayson Mick, juniors Christopher Heermann and Nick Robie and freshman Charlie Sabgir won the 6,400-meter relay in 19 minutes, 32.54 seconds.
Mick, Robie and seniors Kevin Boyce and Dylan Warren were second in the distance medley lap relay (11:29.03).
"We love this time of year," Robie said. "We put in a good solid winter of training, so we're strong and we're ready to go this year."
Other key contributors should include seniors Michael Kusi (sprints), Tommy Mampieri (300 hurdles, 1,600 and 3,200 relays), Hunter Moffett (400), Nathan Sardo (sprints), Jacob Taub (throws) and Anthony Thomassey (400) and juniors Karibi Hart (sprints, jumps), Carson Nichols (throws) and Nick Watson (distance).
A key loss is junior Jerome Buckner, who transferred to Gahanna. Last season, Buckner, Boyce and Kusi were members of the winning 800 relay (1:29.46) in the Division III state meet, where Buckner also finished second in the 400 (49.52).
Robie and Warren were members of the 3,200 relay that finished third (8:06.35), helping the Vikings finish second (35) behind Louisville Aquinas (36) as 79 teams scored.
It was Academy's fourth second-place finish at state, with the others coming in 1980, 1982 and 1996. The Vikings won state titles in 1997, 1981, 2012 and 2013.
The Vikings also hope to contend for the MSL-Ohio Division title after finishing fifth (81) in the league meet last season behind champion Worthington Christian (141.5).
"We'll try to win the league, hopefully win the district and just keep going from there," Robie said.
Girls track team
has high expectations
The girls track team entered the season with high expectations and some new competitors.
Academy competed shorthanded at Big Walnut and finished 11th (11) of 13 teams behind champion Westerville Central (110).
Seniors Jacinta Crestanello (sprints) and Jessica Griffin (200, 400, 800), sophomore Samantha Kass (sprints) and freshman Sarah Neltner (sprints) were fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:30.81).
Other key contributors should include seniors Rebecca Amonor, (sprints), Audrey Grammel (distance) and Lily Kaufman (distance), juniors Briyana Dragin (sprints), Khloe Dubenion (throws), Alicia Harmon (throws), Lexis Hughes (throws) and Claire Neltner (sprints), sophomores Mercedes Crestanello (sprints), Ginnie Ma (sprints, long jump, hurdles) and Maddie Tuckerman (distance) and freshman Annalise Grammel (distance).
"We have a lot more girls out than usual," said coach Denny Hammond, who is in his second season and is sharing coaching duties for the boys and girls with Kirk. "We have some field hockey girls out. We have girls who played lacrosse last year. We have a really good core of sprinters this year as opposed to in the past."
Last season at state, Audrey Grammel and Tuckerman were members of the 3,200 relay that finished eighth (9:51.65). Audrey Grammel and Griffin were part of the 13th-place 1,600 relay (4:07.4), and Audrey Grammel was 14th in the 1,600 (5:32.99).
In the league meet, Academy finished third (108) behind champion Bexley (122).
"Our first goal is to win the league meet," Hammond said. "A league championship shows you how much depth you have, what a great team you have. You can win the state with two or three people, but you can't win the league with two or three. We want to win the league and we want to see how many people we can move on."
Boys tennis team eyes
Despite losing two key players to graduation, boys tennis coach Jeff Warstler believes his team still has plenty of potential.
The Vikings lost Jacob Wareti, who played first singles, and Hirsh Hede, who teamed with senior Austin Lawrence to play first doubles.
Lawrence has replaced Wareti at first singles.
"Austin will do a good job," said Warstler, who is in his 14th season. "That's a tough spot when you play good teams."
Wareti, who is playing at Ohio State, finished his prep career with a 105-19 record.
Senior Eric Min is playing second singles and senior Michael Qi is at third singles. Senior Sid Menon, junior Sam Vogel, sophomores Drew Haffer and Suriya Sundaram and freshman Rhian Seneviratne are competing for doubles spots.
"They're good kids and they play hard," Warstler said. "They have engaging personalities. They're trying to get in the best shape you can be in for later in the season."
Academy was 3-1 overall and 2-0 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Worthington Christian on April 12.
The Vikings opened league play by defeating West Jefferson on April 3 and Whitehall on April 4 by 5-0 scores and lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 5-0 on March 25. They also defeated Lexington 5-0 on April 5.
"You just build it back up," Warstler said. "You try to replace pieces and it's next man up. These guys are fine. They know how to work; they know how the system works. They'll keep plugging away at it and we'll be competitive every time out."
Academy again is competing in the Division II Ohio Tennis Coaches Association team tournament. Last season, the Vikings lost to Cincinnati Country Day 3-2 in a state semifinal before beating Toledo Ottawa Hills 3-0 in the third-place match to finish 16-5 overall.
Academy went 6-0 in the MSL-Ohio on its way to winning the league title with 40 points, edging runner-up Bexley (38, 5-1).
"Winning your league is your top goal," Warstler said. "That's what you want to get to and then everything else builds off of that. These guys have been around the bend a couple of times, so nothing will shock them. There will be no big surprises."
March 25 -- vs. Cincinnati St. Xavier
*April 3 -- vs. West Jefferson
*April 4 -- at Whitehall
April 5 -- vs. Lexington
April 6 -- at Dublin Jerome
*April 12 -- at Worthington Christian
April 13 -- vs. St. Charles
April 17 -- vs. Thomas Worthington
*April 18 -- at Grandview
April 19 -- vs. Wellington
*April 20 -- vs. London
April 21 -- vs. Toledo St. John's
April 24 -- vs. Olentangy Orange
*April 25 -- at Bexley
April 27 -- at Olentangy
April 28 -- vs. Olentangy Liberty
April 29 -- MSL-Ohio tournament at home
May 3 -- at Dublin Coffman
May 4 -- at Upper Arlington
May 5 -- vs. New Albany
May 9 -- at Hilliard Bradley
TRACK & FIELD
March 29 -- Home vs. Bexley
April 1 -- Zuber Relays at Liberty Union
April 3 -- at Worthington Christian with Grandview, Newark Catholic and Northside Christian
April 8 -- Red Edwards Golden Eagle Relays at Big Walnut
April 12 -- vs. Ready and Worthington Christian
April 22 -- Bloom-Carroll Invitational
April 25 -- vs. Centerburg
April 28 -- Hamilton Township Ranger Invitational
May 2 -- at Columbus School for Girls
May 6 -- Mount Gilead Invitational
May 9, 12 -- MSL-Ohio meet at Whitehall
Below are the coming schedules for the Columbus Academy baseball, boys lacrosse and girls lacrosse teams:
*April 13 -- Home vs. Worthington Christian in makeup from April 7
*April 17 -- At London
April 18 -- At Heath
*April 19 -- Home vs. Bexley
April 17 -- Home vs. Hilliard Darby
April 18 -- At Licking Valley
April 17 -- Home vs. Thomas Worthington
*April 19 -- Home vs. Wellington